The Wisdom of the Serpent: The Myths of Death, Rebirth, and Resurrection

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Princeton University Press, Sep 4, 1990 - Fiction - 262 pages

The tribal initiation of the shaman, the archetype of the serpent, exemplifies the death of the self and a rebirth into transcendent life. This book traces the images of spiritual initiation in religious rituals and myths of resurrection, poems and epics, cycles of nature, and art and dreaming. It dramatizes the metamorphosis from a common experience of death's inevitability into a transcendent freedom beyond individual limitations.


"This is a classic work in analytical psychology that offers crucial insights on the meaning of death symbolism (and its inevitably accompanying rebirth and resurrection symbolism) as part of the great theme of initiation, of which [Henderson] is the world's foremost psychological interpreter. This material is really the next step after the hero myth that Joseph Campbell has made so popular, and provides an understanding of how not to use the hero myth in an inflated way as a psychology of mastery, but as an attainment progressively to be died beyond. [Henderson] is helped by the presence of Maud Oakes, who is a trained anthropologist with exquisite taste in her choice of mythic materials and respect for their original contexts."--John Beebe

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - waltzmn - LibraryThing

Sometimes, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. This is, ultimately, two books, one on psychology by Joseph Lewis Henderson and one on mythology by Maud Oakes. The latter is supposed to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librisissimo - www.librarything.com

Will be interesting to fans of mythological studies. Read full review

Contents

The Fear of Death
3
Death and Rebirth as Cosmic Pattern The Dance of Shiva
8
Death and the Rebirth as Cycles of Nature The Descent of Inanna
15
Personal Encounter The Wisdom of the Serpent
32
Initiation as a Spiritual Education
41
Initiation as Psychic Liberation The Magic Flight
60
Resurrection and Rebirth in the Process of Individuation
66
MYTHS OF DEATH REBIRTH AND RESURRECTION
75
INITIATION AS PSYCHIC LIBERATION
184
MYTHS OF RESURRECTION
202
FURTHER EXAMPLES OF THE THEME OF DEATH AND DEBIRTH IN POETRY
233
Drowning Is Not So Pitiful
235
Just Lost When I Was Saved
236
Darest Thou Now O Soul
238
NOTES ON THE PLATES
241
REFERENCES
247

Death and Rebirth as Cosmic Pattern
77
Death and Rebirth as Cycles of Nature
99
INITIATION AS A SPIRITUAL EDUCATION
139

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